A collection of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain cave temples that date back between the 6th and 10th centuries AD create an awe-inspiring complex known as the Ellora Caves. Situated close to the ancient Indian village of Ellora, tourists come to visit the visual attractions, as well as make a religious connection to the past. In this article, you will learn more about the caves of India, such as the Jain structures.
Ellora is a World Heritage Site and is home to the most visited ancient monument in Maharashtra State. UNESCO gave the attraction this status in 1983 and stands as a representation of how tolerant India is of other religions.
The History of the Caves
Sometime between the 6th and 10th centuries, the carving of the caves of Ellora began with the work starting around 550 AD. The Ellora Caves were constructed at a time when Buddhism was declining in India. Hinduism was just starting to become more prominent. The end stages of the cave’s construction took place in the 10th century. Local rulers had shifted their allegiance from Hinduism devoted to Shiva (called Shaivism) to the Digambara sect of Jainism.
Tourists that come to the Caves will encounter 34 separate structures that represent a range of religions. There are 12 Buddhist caves that date back to between 500 and 750 AD. From 600 to 870 AD, there are 17 caves associated with the Hindu faith. Five Jain caves date back to between 800 and 1000 AD. The caves are numbered in chronological order , beginning with the oldest Buddhist caves situated at the south end.
About the Jain Caves
Dating back to the late 800s, the Jain caves are found 2 kilometers down a road made out of asphalt. To reach the structures, people often use rickhsaws. The caves highlight the uniqueness of Jain philosophy and tradition. The embellished decorations are paired with a strict embrace of simplicity. The Buddhist and Hindu caves are larger than the Jain structure, but hold an impressive collection of detailed pieces of art. The majority of Jain caves possess beautiful paintings that have been placed on the ceilings. Fragments of the art are still seen today.
Out of the Jain caves, the most noted of structures is Cave 32, which is known as the Indra Sabha (or Indra’s Assembly Hall). This is a miniature version of the Kailash Temple. The lower level of the caves is plain, while the upper floor is elaborately carved. On the ceiling, there is a notable lotus flower. At the entrance to the central shrine, two tirhankaras stand guard. One is a naked Gomatesvara, who is seen meditating deeply in the forest. Vines have grown up the legs of the meditator and around his feet, creatures, such as snakes and scorpions, crawl about his feet.